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The Futuwa were originally Ghazi fighters or knights of the Ottoman Empire. In modern times, Al-Futuwa was the name of one of two Palestine Arab paramilitary organization formed in 1945. The second organization was called Al-Najada.  When Palestinian Arabs began to organize military resistance to the partition plan of United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181, these youth groups were merged into military units run by Hajj Amin al Husayni, Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, and the Arab Liberation Army (ALA) of  Fawzi al Kawkji.

As the fighting developed, the Al Najada seems to have leaned toward the Arab Liberation Army of Kawkji, while Al-Futuwa was associated with the Grand Mufti Hajj Amin al Husayni and the Arab Higher Committee (AHC). However, the alliances and loyalties  were more complicated. Mohamed Nimr Hawari, commander of the al-Najada and founder of the Al-Najada in Haifa, was an associate of the Mufti (see here). Together, Al Futuwa and Al-Najada were estimated to have about 10,000 members.

Time Magazine had this to say about them in May of 1947:

The Mufti came up with a tax on Palestine Arabs to raise $900,000 to fight Zionism. Part of the money would go to two Arab "scout armies" called Futuwa and Najada (together they number about 10,000). Among their avowed purposes is persuasion of Palestine Arabs not to sell land to Jews. The Mufti had his picture taken as he reviewed a visiting Najada detachment. The picture turned out remarkably like the one he had taken in 1943, while reviewing a detachment of Bosnian Moslems he organized in Yugoslavia for the Nazis (see cuts).


Synonyms and alternate spellings: 

Further Information:  See also Al-Najada

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Encyclopedia of the Middle East

Note - This encyclopedia is a work in progress. It is far from complete and is being constructed and improved all the time. If you would like to contribute articles or expansions of existing articles, please contact news (at) mideastweb.org.  Suggestions and corrections are welcome. The concise version of this dictionary is at our Middle East Glossary.

Spelling - Spelling of words in Middle-Eastern languages is often arbitrary. There may be many variants of the same name or word such as Hezbollah, Hizbolla, Hisbolla or Husayn and Hussein. There are some conventions for converting words from Semitic languages such as Arabic and Hebrew There are numerous variant renderings of the same Arabic or Hebrew words, such as "Hizbollah," "Hisbulla" etc. It is not possible to find exact equivalents for several letters. 

Pronunciation - Arabic and Hebrew vowels are pronounced differently than in English. "o" is very short. The "a" is usually pronounced like the "a" in market, sometimes as the "a" in "Arafat."  The " 'A " is guttural.  " 'H "- the 'het ('Hirbeh, 'Hebron, 'Hisbollah') designates a sound somewhat similar to the ch in "loch" in Scots pronunciation, but made by touching the back of your tongue to the roof of your mouth. The CH should be pronounced like Loch, a more assertive consonant than 'het.

The "Gh" combination, and sometimes the "G," designate a deep guttural sound that Westerners may hear approximately as "r." The "r" sound is always formed with the back of the tongue, and is not like the English "r."

More information: Hebrew, Arabic

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